31 Aug CBD for Horses: Is it safe? Benefits and Dosages
This blog is for educational purposes only. The VMD considers that veterinary products containing Cannabidiol are veterinary medicines that require a prescription in the UK.
Is it safe?
What is it and how does it work?
- CBD (cannabidiol) is an active compound present in the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa).
- It is safe for use in horses and other pets.
- CBD is non-intoxicating, which means it cannot induce a “high” feeling.
- Studies show that CBD may improve pain, inflammation, and anxiety in horses.¹
CBD is a popular hemp plant extract that people use to manage a variety of medical conditions. But did you know that this all-natural plant compound also has wellness applications for animals?
While you may think that CBD use is limited to cats and dogs, its therapeutic properties also extend to other animals, including horses.
Owners may use CBD for horses experiencing stress, anxiety, injuries, or inflammation. Learn more about how you can use CBD¹ for horses and how this hemp flower extract could support your equine’s wellness.
How does CBD oil for Horses work?
In short, CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Scientists have been investigating the Endocannabinoid System ECS and cannabinoids like CBD since around 1930,² when they first noted the unique structure of the hemp plant’s compounds. Following decades of research, scientists began to understand the essential link between cannabinoids and various bodily systems. The ECS is a complex cell signalling network found in all animals, from sea urchins to horses.
Animals depend on the ECS to regulate homeostasis or balance within their bodies. Experts now understand that the ECS helps regulate mood, appetite, pain, and other essential functions. The ECS consists of internal cannabinoids called endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.
Endocannabinoids are produced naturally within the body and are not related to cannabis use. The hemp plant contains phytochemicals that can activate receptors in the ECS and mimic the actions of endocannabinoids.
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors:³
● CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain and central nervous system.
● CB2 receptors are typically cited in the liver and immune system.
The interaction between the different parts of the ECS is complex, and research is ongoing. Currently, we understand that CBD interacts indirectly with the CB receptors and does not bind to them, meaning that it cannot cause intoxicating effects.
CBD also seems to affect the enzymes that typically break down endocannabinoids. If these endocannabinoids are not broken down, they are more available to the body. Some research indicates that CBD communicates with TRPV1 receptors⁵ that control pain awareness and inflammation. Other studies show that it could inhibit glutamate levels,⁴ responsible for the sensation of pain. CBD helps maintain a flow of natural compounds that balances the body.
The potential benefits of CBD for Horses
The benefits of CBD oil for horses may correspond to those of humans and other animals.
Horse owners should bear in mind that little research is published in this area, but as horses have an ECS, it is logical to presume that findings in other animals can also be applied to horses.
Anecdotal evidence⁷ also appears to indicate that using CBD for horses may be beneficial.
Reduced stress and anxiety
Horses kept in stables, and competition horses often exhibit behavioural signs of stress, including cribbing, pacing, windsucking, and generally anxious behaviour.
Stressed horses may also suffer from sleep deprivation which can lead to a decline in athletic performance.
Many veterinarians³ agree that CBD is helpful in anxious and stressed dogs, and owners may find that CBD helps manage stress in their horses.
Researchers in one of the only studies⁸ examining CBD use in horses found that it might improve their anxiety levels.
CBD to relieve inflammation and pain
Athletic injuries among horses are common. Additionally, as horses age, health conditions such as arthritis and laminitis become widespread.
Pain and inflammation can reduce the working lifespan of horses, and owners spend considerable time and money addressing these issues. Understandably, finding a natural supplement that could support their horse’s recovery would be beneficial.
However, little information exists on CBD use for pain and inflammation in horses, and many of the reports are anecdotal. Researchers in one study³ found significant evidence of a link between CBD for horses and reduced pain.
The authors noted an overall improvement in health and a continual improvement in the horses’ pain response. CBD could support your horse as they recover from injuries, meaning that they can return to their former performance more rapidly.
Are CBD products for Horses safe?
CBD oil is safe and non-intoxicating for horses and other animals, including cats and dogs. While CBD’s safety has been well-documented² among humans, its use in animals is only starting to take-off within the veterinary community.
A 2020 study found positive results³ involving CBD oil for horses and pain. The research noted some reduction in anxiety using the hemp extract and reported no side effects or safety concerns. However, the authors caution that more research is necessary.
A 2021 study⁴ found that horses tolerated CBD well and had no significant behavioural or physical adverse events. Because using CBD in animals is a relatively new concept, its long-term effects are mostly unknown. However, with regards to human use, the World Health Organization⁵ has stated that CBD is generally well tolerated and has a good safety profile.
The reports of humans or animals experiencing side effects are few and far between. Additionally, the UK Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD)⁶ now classifies CBD as veterinary medicine.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It’s one of over 100 bio-active chemical compounds known as cannabinoids produced by hemp plant flowers.
Each of these constituents has unique properties. Hemp is a strain of the Cannabis sativa plant that must contain less than 0.2% THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the intoxicating component in cannabis that induces a “high.”
In contrast, CBD lacks this effect because of the way it’s metabolised. Unlike THC, cannabidiol is non-intoxicating and, therefore, safe for your pet. CBD exerts its effects in humans, dogs, and other animals because of the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Scientists describe¹ the ECS as a complex network of neurotransmitters, receptors, and enzymes that help regulate essential bodily functions like mood, appetite, memory, inflammation, pain response, and the sleep-wake cycle.
Horse competition rules and testing
If you compete at a high level with your horse, you’ll need to exercise caution because of competition rules against doping in sports.
Both the U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) and the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) prohibit CBD.¹⁰
How to choose the best CBD oil for Horses?
CBD oil is typically safe for horses. However, not all brands are created equal. Top companies in the industry send their products to third-party testing facilities to check for contaminants and compliance with federal laws.
Hemp is legal, providing that the plants do not contain more than 0.3% THC. To verify you’re purchasing safe and legal CBD products, always review the certificate of analysis or COA, which breaks down the different compounds, including THC levels.
Naturecan’s horse CBD products contain non-detectable levels (<0.01%) of THC.
- What is UC-II? Exploring the Benefits of Our Dog Joint Supplements September 25, 2023
- CBD vs THC September 7, 2023
- The Science behind CBD and Its Impact on Brain Function August 31, 2023
- Does CBD Interact With Medications? August 7, 2023
- Sleep Survey – How Long Does The Nation Sleep? July 5, 2023